The Nursery and Its Deities 9
figure of a somewhat younger man. As the young man tried to put up his umbrella it blew inside out and, like a dilapidated pinwheel loosened from his hand, ran round and round in a circle. The unknown guest merrily chased the umbrella pinwheel, and my mother, who had joined us children at the window, laughingly wondered who my father's new friend was. The front door opened and the two dripping men came in, and we rushed to meet them.
I can see the laughing face of the young man become suddenly shy and a little self-conscious as my father said to my mother: "Mittie, I want to present to you a young man who in the future, I believe, will make his name well known in the United States. This is Mr. John Hay, and I wish the children to shake hands with him."
Many and many a time, long, long years after, when John Hay was secretary of state in the cabinet of the second Theodore Roosevelt, he used to refer to that stormy autumn afternoon when a delicate boy of eleven, at the instigation of his father, shook hands with him and looked gravely up into his face, wondering perhaps how John Hay was going to make his name known throughout the United States. How little did Mr. Hay think then that one day he would be the secretary of state when that same little delicate boy was President of the United States.
My father's intimacy with John Hay had come about through the fact of contact in the Civil War, when they both worked so hard in Washington together.
My father stands out as the most dominant figure in our early childhood. Not that my mother was not equally individual, but her delicate health prevented her from entering into our sports and unruly doings as our father did; but I have always thought that she, in an almost equal degree with my father, influenced my brother's nature, both by her French Huguenot and Scotch blood and her Southern ancestry.
The story of her meeting with my father has a romantic flavor